Everything Happens for a Reason

Most of you are familiar with the Byrds song Turn! Turn! Turn! adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes. In particular the start of the song: “To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn), and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

As the time rolls on, I become more and more convinced that everything…both good and bad…happens for a reason. The reason may not be apparent to us immediately. But there is a reason. A couple of examples:

I was laid off from two jobs within 14 months. I enjoyed both jobs and did not want to leave. But economic realities forced the companies to downsize. However, now I am in a position that I enjoy much more than the previous two. It was only a series of two layoffs that lead me down a winding road to my current job.

I heard of a more dramatic example of this recently. I young man was diagnosed with brain cancer. He needed costly surgery, so a small community pulled together to organize a fundraiser to help pay for the surgery. Part of the event involved people asking for sponsorship to get their heads shaved in solidarity for this young man who would also have his head shaved. A couple of weeks later, a lady who had her head shaved was diagnosed with skin cancer–on her head! Since it was caught early, hopefully her prognosis is good. Without her head being shaved, the cancer would likely have grown for months or years and likely spread.

Things are tough with a lot of people right now. Just try to keep in mind that even the bad things happen for a reason. We may not know why immediately, maybe not for week or months, maybe even never. But there is a reason. We just have to make the best of the hand we are dealt, and learn and grow from it.

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DITH On Location in Cascade, Idaho

For the next week, DITH will be on location in beautiful Cascade, Idaho keeping you up to date on the latest events there. This may include none, one, some, or all of the following:

  • Reflections on my recently-completed employment of 17 years (yawn)
  • Thoughts on my new job starting soon (double yawn)
  • Exciting happenings in Cascade (crickets)
  • Random blatherings from my mind (razor blades to the wrist)
  • Fishing experiences from novice fishermen, fisherpeople..whatever we have to call them now (there may actually be something funny stuff from this).

As always, this exclusive content is available at no extra charge. However, contributions are always happily accepted.

Unemployed

For the first time in 17 years, I found myself unemployed on Friday. Regular readers know that I found out that I would be losing my job last fall and that I have, in fact, found a new job that I will start in about a week. So I’m actually only going to be unemployed for a week. But it makes for a good headline, no?

The final week at the old job was quite a challenge. I had accepted the finality of it and just wanted the week to be over so that I could move on. I grew more excited that the end was near as the week wore on. Then Friday rolled around. I had decided that I would spend the morning saying good-bye to as many people as I could. As I made the rounds, I felt a profound sadness. After all, these are the folks that I have shared a substantial part of my last 17 years with. We have shared teamwork, laughter, hard work, success (most of the time), and failure (occasionally). But we have always been a team…at times like a family. That’s the toughest thing to leave behind–the wonderful people.

As I walked out the door for the final time, a smile swept across my face. And in fact this smile lasted the rest of the day. It was a selfish smile. One celebrating the accomplishments of my time there, the fact that the turmoil is finished for me, and that I am moving on to a new, exciting chapter in my career.

For my colleagues that remain, I wish nothing but the best for them. Despite the huge personnel cuts, I still have a lot of friends at the company and the company means a lot to the local economy. I wish nothing but success for the company and my former colleagues going forward.

I’ve Got a Job!

Those of you that follow this blog regularly may recall that I found out last fall that I would be losing my job to outsourcing in July. I’ve been looking inside and outside my company since then and had not been successful in finding something that was a good fit.

Well, that has finally changed for the good. I was just offered a position as the IT Administrator for a small manufacturing company. Basically, I’m going to be their one-man IT department. It is going to be a radical change from being in a very specialized position at a large company to a jack of all trades at a small company. However, I’m looking forward to the new challenge, and thankfully they are willing let me work through the learning curve on some of the areas that I’m not as strong in.

Since one blog is not enough, I’m starting a new blog called One Man IT Shop to chronicle my transformation from a Fortune 500 IT foot soldier to the general of a one-man IT army. It’s going to bore the snot out of just about everyone. I put the chances at less than 50% that even one person will be interested. But it’s mostly there for me anyway.

Great New Jobs

As many of you know, I’m looking for a new job. My plan was to stay in the same field, but hey, if the right job comes along in another field, I might give it a try. cnn.com posted an article on “Some really odd jobs”. So sit back, relax, and help me sort through some of these to see if they might be suitable for me.

1. Breath odor evaluator

Not a big fan of the whole outsourcing or illegal immigrant labor thing, but maybe this is a job that Americans just won’t do.

2. Diener

What they do: Prepare cadavers for the pathologist before autopsies are performed in hospitals.

For those Generation X and older, do you remember watching the opening credits to Quincy, M.E. in the 70s? Remember where Quincy was talking to the line-up of cops by a cadaver. Then when he pulled the sheet off, the officers all fainted one-by-one. Yeah, that’s me, collapsing to the floor. (To reminisce on that opening, click here.)

4. Ocularist

What they do: In short, they paint artificial eyes. It sounds easier than it is, since as with real eyes, no two are exactly the same.

Wow, that sounds like a very interesting, rewarding career. I believe that I would enjoy this for tens of seconds before I quit.

5. Flatulence smell-reduction underwear maker

What they do: Create underwear that protect against bad human gas for people who suffer from gastrointestinal problems. The underwear is made with various materials and filters to help remedy hydrogen sulfide gases, the main offender in foul smells.

I guess making it wouldn’t be so bad. I just don’t want to be the tester. I’d happily delegate that.

6. Beer tester

What they do: Taste — and spit out — beer all day to approve new and existing flavors.

Finally, a career right my alley–getting paid to drink taste beer all day. No boss, really, I promise to spit it all out.

7. Crack filler

This is wrong on so many levels, that I don’t even want to comment on it. I try to keep this blog PG-13 or cleaner.

8. Ball tester

Well, I have no interest in being a tester. I would like to sign up to be a test subject depending upon the circumstances. (That’s still PG-13, right?)

9. Video game tester

What they do: For eight hours a day, five days a week, a group of males and females of all ages play video games. They repeat levels, games and characters, looking for any bugs and/or glitches in the software.

Sweetness! This might be the best one so far. I can sit on my butt, eat chips, chug Mountain Dew, and play. I love it!

10. Tampon tester

Pass.

11. Gold reclaimer

What they do: Scour old teeth for fillings, melting the gold from them with broken gold jewelry into tiny gold pellets, which is then re-sold to jewelers.

So I get to go whack old people and pull their teeth out? I mean, it sounds like a good way to relieve some stress, but are you sure it’s legal?

12. Dog sniffer

What they do: Once a week, they analyze the odor of dog’s breath to test the effect of their diet on their teeth. Breath is graded on a scale of zero to 10 and is categorized as sweaty, salty, musty, fungal or decaying.

“…musty, fungal, or decaying.” (shivers) Add this one to the illegal immigrant/outsource list.

13. Potato chip inspector

What they do: Search for over-cooked or clumped chips to discard as they come down the assembly line.

Mmmm…daddy like. I’ll check into this one also. Ooops…there’s another “defective” one (crunch).

14. Porta-potty servicer

What they do: Like regular restrooms, portable toilets need maintenance, too. Once a week, service workers clean these single-stall facilities to achieve certain standards of sanitation.

It’s really every little boy’s dream, though you’ll never get any of us to admit it: To drive around all day sucking the crap out of porta-potty tanks all over town…yeah.

17. Safe cracker

What they do: When combinations are lost or forgotten, safe crackers use their ears and fingers to open the safe.

I could do this, but only if my tool of choice could be dynamite.

19. Paper towel sniffer

What they do: Paper towel manufacturers prefer their products to be odorless before, during and after their use. Naturally, paper towel sniffers ensure that once a paper towel is used, there is no noticeable scent.

There seems to be a lot of demand for people to sniff things and rate the hideousness thereof. Outsource all of these, please.

20. Foley artist

What they do: Use whatever they can find to create and record the noises used to make the sound effects in films, like heavy footsteps, rolling thunder or creaking doors.

I don’t fancy myself an artist, but this actually sounds like fun.

Unemployment Line or Lottery Winner?

I haven’t shared this publicly yet, but I’m being laid off (along with half of my department) from my employer of 17 years. Thankfully, I’ve been given lots of notice (I found out in October that my last day will be in July) and a nice severance package, but it’s obviously still not an easy process. I joined this company right out of college. I’m very loyal and probably would have spent my entire career there. But, it was not to be. That’s life, I get it.

I got into work with this employer through a prior summer internship, so there was no “real” search. So needless to say, my job searching skills are pretty lean. Today, I attended a job search workshop put on by the Idaho Department of Labor. They did a really good job and I picked up a lot of good tips. This is my first “real” job search ever, so all the help I can get it great.

At the beginning, we did the usual ice-breaker. You know, go around the room and introduce yourself (thanks for wasting my time). Now usually, you go around and tell a little bit about yourself, right? Well, not at this event. Here, we were asked to tell what we would do if we suddenly came into $50 million.   (sigh)   Okay, hold on. At a minimum, I’m going through an excruciating job search. Next best case is that I’m coming into the unemployment office each week to beg for my generous unemployment benefit. Worst case, I’m digging for left-over food out of a dumpster. So what do they do? They taunt me with the prospect of a $50 million windfall that would allow me to relax for the rest of my life. I don’t get it.